From crinoline to bike
16th century. Funnel bodices. Maximum shrinkage of the bust which gives the hips a barrel width. Accentuation of the effect by a rigid waistcoat and the voluminous Vertugadin.
17th century. Decrease in the volume of Vertugadin or Vertugardum.
18th century. New enlargement of female hips. Fashion dress with baskets then bell dress.
End of the 18th and 19th century. Revolution, Consulate, Empire. Triumph of David and the ancient line. The "Wonderful". But with the Restoration and Louis-Philippe the furbelows come back. In the second Empire the crinoline is needed. She is the granddaughter of the Vertugadin, the basket dress, the bell dress.
The puffed frame is first of all horsehair. Hence the name crinoline. Soon it is necessary to call for the help of the wooden arches. The crinolines swell constantly.
The comedians speak of traveling cupolas, melon bells, vagabond arbours, balloons of love, capricious balloons, etc.
At the corner of the streets we sing:
"The crinoline, in Paris,
Is a bad method;
The accommodations are so small
That it takes the place of a commode"
1855, the cannon shells in Sevastopol. Eugenie de Montijo de Guzman, Andalusian, has been empress of the French for two years. It comes to him the idea to launch a crinoline all round.
Immediately, crazy success. Everyone wears crinoline, even four-year-olds.
But whales were expensive!
Someone, his name was Peugeot, had an idea. He was a weaver from Herimoncourt, in the foothills of the Jura. One of his four sons had found a way of rolling remarkably thin, flexible, hard-wearing steel blades, and was beginning to make a name for himself as a sawmaker. In the face of the whale crisis that threatened to inflict a mortal blow on the crinoline, this Peugeot had the idea to adapt to the manufacture of thin flexible blades of metal, intended for the carcass of the crinoline, the remarkable technique which had so well done for saw blades. To conquer wood sawmills was already a success; but to conquer the Woman was a triumph. This Peugeot, having this Ambition, installed in a island of Doubs, in Beaulieu, hamlet of the village of Valentigney, a factory. Let us go to 1856. Sevastopol had just fallen. Two great things, in fashion, were the Crimean War, the crinoline of Eugenie de Montijo and the raglan since it would be Lord Raglan, commander-in-chief of the British troops, and died of cholera on the front of Sevastopol, after to have demonstrated a magnificent courage at the day of Alma, which would have launched the fashion of the raglan. Madam and Sir, everyone had their account. Two big things? It is to forget a third. The third is this Beaulieu shack that eventually became so big that it came out of its island, invaded the entire bank of the Doubs over Valentigney to Mandeure ... And the factory of Peugeot crinolines became the huge bicycle factory of the same name. Such was the magical effect of the meeting of feminine fantasy and mechanistic reason, of whim and method, of rustling and metal, of woman and machine, in an island of the Doubs.
(Petit écho de la mode N ° 4 of January 1947)